Leadership Tussle: Supreme Court Extends PDP's Wait To May 25
Things changed for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after a convention held in Port Harcourt in May, where Ali Modu Sheriff was removed as the national chairman of the party.
A torrent of court cases had followed his removal and the party seemed to have reached its bus stop when we talk about litigation.
On Thursday, some members of the party may have expected a final hammer on the matter to rest the case and give the party focus, but they will have to wait a little longer.
A case has been brought before the Supreme Court by a factional chairman of the Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff against an appeal of an appellate court’s decision filed by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction.
The factions were formed after Senator Sheriff was removed in the Port Harcourt Convention.
But the Supreme Court could not rule on the matter after the Sheriff-faction raised concerns over the case hearing, forcing the court to adjourn the case till May 25.
Makarfi faction had approached the court on March 16, requesting that it should overturn the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on February 27, which declared Sheriff the legitimate National Chairman of the PDP.
Five days after Markafi-led PDP filed the application, the Sheriff faction filed another application, arguing that the Makarfi-led faction had no legal grounds to file an appeal.
When the case was called on Thursday Sheriff’s counsel asked the Supreme Court to set aside the appeal, claiming it was not properly filed.
“The PDP is led by Sheriff and the leadership of the party did not give anyone the permission to file a suit on its behalf and as such the suit filed by Makarfi is null and void,” he claimed.
After he made the claims, the Supreme Court judges, however, asked him if “as a party to the suit at the appellate court, does Makarfi not have any right to file an appeal especially as he was aggrieved with the judgment of the appeal court and the judgment was not granted as an exparte order”?
Answering the judges question, Sheriff’s counsel told the court that even though Makarfi could file an appeal, he wasn’t eligible to do so in the name of the PDP since there was no authorisation by the legally recognised leadership of the party.
He said: “By the judgment of the Appeal Court which recognised the Sheriff-led executive council as the authentic leadership of the party, it is only him that can decide if the party wants to challenge the judgment or not”.
Could Sheriff be challenging a judgement that gave him the party's leadership rights? This is a question that many persons in the courtroom battled to come to terms with, as the counsel makes attempt to convince the judges to throw out Makarfi’s case.
After Sheriff’s counsel put forward his claims, counsel to Makarfi urged the court to discountenance the argument, because the issues raised by Sheriff’s counsel were already in the substantive suit before the court and since the issues have been joined, there was no need to listen to anybody who was not a part of the suit.
After listening to both parties the court adjourned to hear the objections as an interlocutory appeal on May 25, 2017.